We were just talking about this! Not the finding a bike in an alley bit, but the Pound versus the Euro.
Steve, don't most places in England accept both? How the hell does that ever work when everyone's currency is going crazy? Do stores just have signs up with an exchange rate, or is everything still listed in pounds?
If we're mourning the loss of British holdings, I'd nominate the sale of the Nottingham Raleigh factory. When Raleigh made a bicycle, they made every single part of it in-house. I have an old Raleigh somewhere on which every bolt has a little heron stamped onto it.
It's also a proprietary-threaded mild-steel rusted nightmare, but I still love the idea of just setting down somewhere and building working bikes up from steel ingots and rubber sap.